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“What a wonderful place!”

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Earthshine Discovery Center
Greensboro, North Carolina
Level Contributor
13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“What a wonderful place!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 August 2011

What a wonderful time we had! I had heard about Earthshine from friends, but you don't really get it until you're there the first time.

The setting is wonderful. When you sit out on the porch, you have a beautiful view of the mountains. The entire lodge is secluded in the woods, and you're truly out in the middle of nowhere.

The people are wonderful, too. It's a place where you get to know people--the people who work there, and the other guests that you share a dinner table with. One woman was my guide on the high ropes course, a native-American woman in tribal village, and dressed up as the Easter bunny for the Easter egg hunt. My other high-ropes instructor was also in charge of the evening activity, and the kids hung on his every word.

Earthshine is magical for kids. Our daughter is 11, and was totally enchanted; so were smaller kids who were there. At 11 (and younger), the kids can pretty much run around to their heart's content. And since we were there at Easter, there was a huge Easter-egg hunt that all of the kids loved.

What a range of activities:
- Ziplining--fun for the entire family; really a stand-out course
- High-ropes--also fun for the entire family if the kids are old enough. There's a challenge for everyone, though.
- Pioneer village--we made candles and learned about blacksmithing. Hands-on and fun!
- Evening activites--one night was a campfire, the other was coloring Easter eggs.
Indian village--also hands-on and fun!

And did I mention that the food is incredible, too?

I think this is a stand-out vacation opportunity for families with kids 5-13. Younger than that, and they may not be able to participate in much. And older than 13--I'm not sure when they'd be too cool to find it fun. But in that age range, it's great! My daughter is already twisting my arm to go back.

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank cj927
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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58 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (7)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Saint Augustine, Florida
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 August 2011

We can't say enough about our time at Earthshine - it was the perfect mix of activity and relaxation. Our two boys - six and two - stayed active and occupied by the three scheduled activities per day, which still left time for resting when needed or time to play with new friends. We loved that all of our meals were taken care of and we appreciated that the fabulous staff people were around at all times to answer questions, lead us in activities and occupy the kids (nearby) after meals.

One of the coolest things about Earthshine was that all of the vacationing families, automatically AND without effort, fell into an easy camaraderie during their stay. Within hours of being there, both kids and parents alike were eating together, playing together and enjoying each other's company - not to mention looking out for each other's children.

As for the activities - they were perfect for a wide range of ages. From the adventurous creek hike to the s'mores on the hill - my two year old had a blast alongside a thirteen year-old visitor. Other highlights included: a HUGE slip and slide, rock climbing wall (all four of us did it, but only the six year old and the forty-eight year old made it to the top!), Pioneer Days (black smithing, making apple cider, candle-making, etc), Cherokee Days (pottery, grinding corn, learning to use bow and arrows and tomahawks), "gem mining" in the creek, critter hunts, visits to the on-site nature center - The Rabbit Hole, and so much more. For ten year olds to adults - the zipline course and the high ropes course were a wonderful challenge and a ton of fun. And the best part was - after you conquered any fears you may have had doing both - you can do them again and again throughout your stay!

During "down-time", there was still plenty to do... the residents goats were always a pleasure to hang out with (my son's favorite part of the trip!), a common area upstairs in the lodge was stocked with arts and crafts, puzzles, great old wooden blocks, board games, checker boards, a small library and a comfy reading/sitting area in front of a beautiful fireplace. Of course, the mountain views from the porches off of individual rooms or the main lodge area was also great for down-time, especially sipping the fresh-brewed iced tea or any of the other beverages available twenty-four hours a day.

Over all, this trip was truly the best family vacation we have taken with the kids. We made lots of friends and lots of memories during our six-day stay at Earthshine. We will definitely be back.

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank lucahas2mommies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 May 2011

Wow. I can't believe I didn't review this place back in 2010 when we were there. I must have had some subconscious motive to keep it a secret, because it's just that wonderful. On to my review!

Our family (two adults, one child) stayed at Earthshine for five days in July of 2010. We had a lodge room, which included a full sized bed, a small bathroom, and a lofted sleeping area with two twin beds. It also included a gorgeous view of the fields outside our room. What a way to wake up every morning.

The lodge rooms are definitely rustic. I'd describe them as "pioneer chic". It's not the kind of decor I would normally enjoy, but it was really homey and perfect it in this setting. There are no TVs in the rooms--in fact, there are no TVs anywhere on the property, as far as I could tell. We also had trouble getting reliable access to service on our iPhones. Was that a drawback? Nope. It turned out to be a godsend. We all just literally unplugged and enjoyed being together.

Because our son was 2 at the time, we could only do about half of the activities that were available, but we still had a blast. We got to track turtles with a cool electronic tracker. We got to hike a creek together and look for colorful river stones (which the staff had quietly hidden in obvious places for the kids to find). We got to do the awesome homemade water slide, which totally beats any waterpark I ever went to as a kid. Every day was something new, and we enjoyed every activity.

The staff were uniformly enthusiastic, welcoming, and courteous. We especially enjoyed our time with Steve, who took us turtle tracking and showed us all the cool animals in the wildlife center. I was fighting an infected wisdom tooth while I was there, and the staff offered helpful suggestions and regularly asked me how I was feeling. They really made our trip memorable.

Last but not least, the food was super yummy. We are all vegetarians, and they gladly offered vegetarian entrees at every meal. They also had a nice salad bar at lunch and dinner with quality greens and simple dressings. One cook was definitely better suited to cook for vegetarians than the other, but the meals were all delicious.

We are looking forward to going back again this year!

Room Tip: Ask for a lodge room looking out over the field
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank ameyls
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SC
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 April 2010

The food was great, the room was really cool, and the activities were amazing. The price seems high, but you don't have to pay extra for anything. The staff was friendly. All the guests seemed to be having a great time. This is the kind of place that you want to keep a secret, but you just can't help telling people about your great time there. We will be back for years to come.

  • Stayed April 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank zoomy1234
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NC
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 November 2009

My daughter and I spent the weekend here Oct 23-25 and had a wonderful time - she's still talking about it and wants to make it an annual event. Located in a beautiful spot very much off the beaten path - we arrived an hour or so before the dinner bell (literally) and were delighted with our room - windows with a view on two sides, and a loft upstairs with two beds and room between for more if needed. She would have been happy just playing in the loft of our room for a day! Although there was just the two of us, it would be very comfortable for a family of 4 or 5 given the loft area.
That night there was pumpkin carving inside the lodge as it was raining outside. Luckily for us, the weather cleared during the night and by morning, it was beautiful. After a hearty breakfast, we walked down (accompanied by one of the more friendly goats) to the Pioneer Village, where we were transported to the 1840s and two "pioneers" helped the kids (aged 4-11 in our group) spin, card and weave wool (from the Lodge's sheep), blacksmith (yes, the kids even did that!), saw wood, make candles, make apple cider, and - the big hit - gem mining in the stream. While those of us with younger children were occupied with this activity, zip lining was going on for others in the group, and I believe one of the parents hung out and relaxed on the porch enjoying the great mountain view. After another hearty meal (you do not go hungry here for sure!), there was rock wall climbing, another round of zip lining, and then a kids/parents challenge course in a trail through the woods. By now, my daughter had made friends and when we returned the kids ran off to find the swings on the property and to play in the room, while I enjoyed time on the porch or next to the logde's fireplace with my book. After dinner, we all enjoyed a campfire and s'mores. The next morning, we were off again to the Cherokee village, where parents and kids learned about the Cherokee people of the area, and participated in making pottery, clay beads, throwing tomahaks, shooting bows and arrows and learning Cherokee songs. The morning ended when we all took our Cherokee names and faces were painted with the symbol of our name. Lunch was served before everyone began to scatter. I believe zip lining was again an option in the morning.
The staff was attentive and responsive (due to the rain, there was an influx of wood spiders that evening - hard to prevent in a LOG lodge - but I believe those who were affected were pleased with the staff's response). The cook noticed I didn't take any meat the first night (there was PLENTY of other food!) and made a point to come over to me at my table and ask if I was a vegetarian. Afterwards, there were always options for me at every meal.
I love places where there are opportunities for my daughter to interact with other kids and I have time to turn off the mommy button and relax a bit too or interact with other adults. This is definitely one of them!
It is about 1/2 hour from Brevard, and an hour from Asheville - somehow I got the impression that it was closer. Treat yourself to a wonderful family getaway!

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank kirbymc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Earthshine Discovery Center

Property: Earthshine Discovery Center
Address: 1600 Golden Rd, Lake Toxaway, NC 28747-5717 (Formerly Earthshine Mountain Lodge)
Phone Number:
Region: United States > North Carolina > North Carolina Mountains > Lake Toxaway
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 4 Speciality Lodging in Lake Toxaway
Price range (per night): $227 - $293
Number of rooms: 13
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Remember that sense of wonder and adventure that gave childhood its magic? Well, get ready to feel it again. Escape to a storybook place guaranteed to exceed your expectations. Your family can unplug and reconnect with one another in an environment free of digital distractions. Earthshine is "unforgettable." ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Earthshine Mountain Hotel Lake Toxaway

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